After a stellar start to 2012, the stock market looks like it may be starting to hit a wall. Between division within the Federal Reserve about whether a QE3 bond-buying episode should happen and more uncertainty coming from Greece, the market ignored some positive economic data today and moved sharply lower. The Dow Jones Industrials
But a few stocks managed to buck the trend and rise. Let's turn to some of them.
In general, the down market wasn't particularly kind to financial stocks. Viewed in that light, Travelers avoiding a big drop was an unexpected result.
Yet the insurance company also hasn't participated in the rally that started the year. Weak earnings threw a wrench in the company's attempted recovery from a disaster-prone 2011. Yet analysts still expect a full recovery for 2012, and if Travelers can get any cooperation from Mother Nature, it will probably be able to deliver on those hopes.
Procter & Gamble
P&G had the news item of the day as it agreed to sell its Pringles division to Kellogg
Still, the deal has to come as mixed news for P&G. Because the deal is structured as an all-cash transaction, it comes with a big tax bite. In contrast, the original sale to Diamond Foods would have been tax-free because P&G aimed to take Diamond shares in exchange for the division. Given Diamond's turmoil, P&G shareholders are probably just as happy to pay their tax bill and take the money and run.
Johnson & Johnson
On a big down day for the market, J&J is doing exactly what you'd expect: letting smart investors play defense. The company didn't have any big news today, unless you count a somewhat-expected move from the Venezuelan government to regulate prices on personal care products in an attempt to combat inflation.
Unquestionably, J&J stands to lose from European turmoil. The company gets more than a quarter of its revenue from Europe, and a slowdown there will have negative ramifications -- especially if it comes with further weakening of the euro against the U.S. dollar. In the long run, though, shareholders will likely expect those effects to be minimal and for J&J to reassume its role as a stalwart stock.
What will Thursday bring?
These stocks managed to add a few pennies to their stock prices today, but who knows what will happen tomorrow? If you invest for the long haul, don't get hung up in all the day-to-day meanderings of the market. Instead, read the Motley Fool's latest special report and learn the names of three stocks that you can ride to riches. The report is free -- but don't wait: Click here and read it today.
Fool contributor Dan Caplinger prefers a winner to a small loser most days. You can follow him on Twitter here. He doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Johnson & Johnson. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Johnson & Johnson. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool's disclosure policy is always a winner.